Book Reviews Picture Books

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Usually, when I write about picture books, I do it as a list, with a bunch of picture books together.

It’s only for the very most exceptional picture books that I write an entire post about a single book (I think the last one that got its own post was Journey).

The Book With No Pictures deserves its own post.

But actually, as you might suspect from the cover, this book isn’t really a picture book at all.

Nope, not one single picture in the whole book.

I’d been hearing buzz about this book for MONTHS, but didn’t manage to get my hands on a copy until we returned to the United States and I picked up one at my parents’ library.

That afternoon, Ella and I read it together and she laughed so much, I thought she was going to pass out.

She begged to read it a second time and, to my surprise, she laughed just as much that time through.

Over the next few days, we read it dozens of times, and she insisted that both of my parents read it to her (they both thought it was delightfully clever too) and the first morning that Bart was back from the UK, it was the first thing Ella asked him to do with her (the second thing was to ask if he’d brought back any Jammie Dodgers).

The basic idea is that, yes, there might be no pictures, but adults might not realize that their job is to read whatever words are on the page and if those pages are filled with nonsense words or the insistence that they are a monkey, well, then, they just have to read those crazy words.

Admirably, the book goes on just long enough to be funny, without overplaying the joke. And somehow, it does manage to be fun and enjoyable for reading after reading.

You can also watch the author (B. J. Novak was a writer, producer, and actor on The Office) read part of the book to a bunch of school-age children here and it’s hilarious.

Seriously, go get yourself a copy of this book and be a hero in your home.

(And, if you’re a parent like me, you will break the rules and where it says “Boo Boo Butt,” you will read aloud “Boo Boo Bottom.” Because that’s the kind of rebel without a cause I am).

Copy checked out from the library

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Amy Johnson January 12, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I still haven't read this book because every time I go to put it on hold, I get depressed about being #149 on the list.

    Also, I would do the same kind of editing as you, for sure.

  • Reply Carrie Butler Becker January 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I just bought a copy of this for the library, and after reading your review, I'm going to have to put a hold on it to get it first!

  • Reply Ashley January 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Haha!! I actually say Boo Boo Butt (I can't believe it) and my boys laugh hysterically (boys!).

    It really is such a great book. They beg for it all day every day.

  • Reply Paige Flamm January 12, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I loved this book when you shared the video on Facebook! We're definitely going to have to check it out! We're totally those parents that change the words in books all the time too, although I think we would say "Boo Boo Bum" 😉

  • Reply Megan January 12, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    This book was under the tree for us on several friends' recommendations. And we are the same kind of mom – boo boo bum it is.

  • Reply Natalie January 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    This was on my Christmas list, but unfortunately Santa didn't deliver. I'm definitely going to buy it though!

    On another note … have you heard of the website Books by the Foot? It's a great way to stock up/build your personal library on the cheap. Just thought I'd pass it along …

  • Reply Janelle January 12, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    We totally edit that page too, even though several of my kids can read.

  • Reply Laura {a spoonful of joy} January 13, 2015 at 2:38 am

    I haven't heard of this one before now but it sounds like something my three year old would love. And thanks for the head's up about the "b" word – always nice to be prepared! 😉

  • Reply Christina Webster January 13, 2015 at 3:58 am

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate that you not only blog about books that you read, but you also blog about books that you like for your children and what they like. I have a 7 year old girl and have found it very difficult to find books in her age range. Thanks for giving me ideas and for books to look for at my local library.

  • Reply Melissa January 13, 2015 at 6:38 am

    My sister got this book for my daughter for Christmas. It is definitely a winner.

  • Reply Emily Frandsen January 14, 2015 at 3:35 am

    i just bought this book for my kids the other day and we read it last night for the first time and my kids were DYING laughing. so good.

  • Reply Tina's Blog January 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    OK, I'm going to be the one person who didn't really like this book. I loved Press Here and my library students absolutely roared with laughter when I read it and were so amazed by it. But, this book? Not so much. My own daughter just thought it was weird. I know she is eight, so she is probably on the verge of liking a book like this, but ack! What am I missing?

  • Reply laura January 15, 2015 at 3:00 am

    My 3.5 and 5.5 year olds cant get enough of this book! They find it hysterical and trick every houseguest into reading it to them.

  • Reply BrittWilk January 18, 2015 at 3:56 am

    we say "bum" at our house and i went against my instincts and read it "boo boo butt" because… well, it's funny… and now Van calls everyone "boo boo butt" all the time. and it's still funny. oh well!!

  • Reply Micaella Lopez March 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    We love this book! Reading it out loud to my boys is so much fun. Also I love when my older kid reads it to his brother so many giggles.

    Visit my site Ketchikan Fishing Charters Website

  • Leave a Reply